Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Dora Il'yasova

Second Advisor

Mr. John Steward, MPH

Abstract

The Atlanta Beltline is an urban redevelopment project that was designed to increase access to trails, parks, and greenspace in Atlanta, Georgia. Thirty-three miles of new trail will be developed, providing a place for the community to engage in purposeful physical activity and active transport around the city of Atlanta. Because physical activity is associated with improvements in birth outcomes and under the assumption that close proximity to the Atlanta Beltline encourages physical activity, I hypothesize that women residing within 0.5 mile of the Atlanta Beltline will show improvements in birth outcomes, as compared to women residing 1-1.5 miles away from the Beltline. Birth outcomes were measured as rates for low birth weight, premature live birth, and fetal mortality rates. Census tract data for birth outcomes for the time period “pre-Beltline,” 2002 - 2007, and “post-Beltline,” 2008 - 2012, was obtained from Georgia Department of Public Health. 18 census tracks in three areas along the Beltline (Northside, Eastside, West End) were identified as exposed and 17 in the same areas were unexposed. We found the following mean rates (SDs) of the outcomes in the exposed census tracks during the pre-Beltline period: 119.22 (48.39) low birth weight, 154.94 (55.80) premature birth, and 16.17(15.81) fetal death, all per 1,000 live birth. During the post-Beltline period in the exposed area, these measurements were: 107.55 (39.66) low births weight, 131.06 (48.92) premature birth, and 12.28 (13.51) fetal death, all per 1000 live birth. In the unexposed census tracks during the pre-Beltline period, mean rates (SDs) of the outcomes were 110.82 (42.81) low births weight, 144.88 (46.49) premature birth, and 19.94 (35.45) fetal death, all per 1000 live birth. During the post-Beltline period, these measurements in the unexposed area were: 100.88 (40.76) low births, 134.17 (47.85) premature birth, and 8.06 (6.89) fetal death, all per 1000 live birth.
Overall in both the exposed and unexposed areas, the time trends for the examined measurements of birth outcomes were towards improvement; however, only a decrease in premature live birth in the exposed area (p=0.2) and fetal mortality in the unexposed area (p=0.1) were of statistically marginal significance. We conclude that currently no significant improvements in birth outcomes, associated with close proximity to the Atlanta Beltline have been detected.

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